Disciple of St. Paul. He was born in Lystra, Lycaonia, of a pagan father and a pious Jewish mother Eunice, who taught him the Scriptures (Acts 16.1; 2 Tm 3.15). St. Paul, in a.d. 50, on his second trip to Lystra, found his young convert so esteemed by the local Christians that he took him as a coworker. Since Timothy had a Jewish mother, Paul circumcised him as an accommodation to Jewish scruples (Acts 16.2–4). Timothy was officially consecrated to the ministry (1 Tm 4.14) and became Paul's constant companion and his envoy for special missions (1 Thes 3.2–6; 1 Cor 4.17; Acts 19.22). Timothy is cowriter of Thessalonians, 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. His release from some imprisonment is noted in Heb 13.23. Paul assigned him to a special teaching office at Ephesus (1 Tm 1.3), but later urged him to come quickly to Rome, where Paul was suffering a lonely imprisonment.
St. John Damascene states that Timothy, first Bishop of Ephesus, witnessed Mary's departure from this world (Hom. 2 de Dormitione; Patrologia Graeca 106:749). Tradition tells of his martyrdom in a.d. 97 under Nerva. In 356 Constantius moved his remains to Constantinople.
Timothy was somewhat timid (1 Cor 16.11; 2 Tm1.7–8) but affectionate (2 Tm 1.4). He was of frail health (1 Tm 5.23) and young at the time of Paul's final captivity (c. a.d. 63: 2 Tm 2.22). Paul shows fatherly concern for him in the two pastoral epistles addressed to him and praises him as his beloved son (1 Cor 4.17), loyal imitator (Phil 2.19–20), coworker (Rom 16.21), and a dearly loved friend (2 Tm 1.4).
Feast: Jan. 24.
Bibliography: c. spicq, Saint Paul: Les Épîtres pastorales (Études bibliques ; 1947).
[r. g. boucher]